Thursday, August 23, 2007

Political links

I have so far resisted the temptation to post just a few links because I imagine I should be collecting information from various sources and putting the pieces together here. Alas, today, the articles speak quite well for themselves:

Friday, August 17, 2007

Now who flip-flops?

Ok, so when we have a President who listens to the people and adjusts his position, he gets called a "flip-flop." When we have one who takes a stand, regardless of how wrong it is, he's hailed as a great leader. Greatness requires smarts, not just resolve. Honesty helps, too.

Cheney: Deposing Saddam would make quagmire

Q: Do you think US or UN forces should have moved into Baghdad?

A: No.

Q: Why not?

A: Because if we'd gone to Baghdad we would have been all alone. There wouldn't have been anybody else with us. It would have been a US occupation of Iraq. None of the Arab forces that were willing to fight with us in Kuwait were willing to invade Iraq.

Once you got to Iraq and took it over, took down Saddam Hussein's government, what are you going to put in its place? That's a very volatile part of the world and if you take down the central government of Iraq, you could easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off. Part of it the Syrians would like to have in the west; part of Eastern Iraq the Iranians would like to claim - faught over [it] for eight years. In the north you've got the Kurds. The Kurds spin loose and join with the Kurds in Turkey, then you've threatened the terratorial integrity of Turkey. It's a quagmire if you go that far and try to take over.

Another thing is casualties. Everyone was impressed with the fact that we were able to do our job with as few casualties as we had, but for the 146 Americans killed in action and for their families, it wasn't a cheap war. And the question for the President in terms of whether or not we went on to Baghdad and took additional casualties in an effort to get Saddam Hussein was, "How many additional dead americans is Saddam worth?", and our judgement was not very many, and I think we got it right.

Do you feel secure?

DHS is making strides in measuring risk and spending money where it will do the most good. But what happens when the next terrorist attack comes? Will we wildly spend money on whatever sort of thing gets attacked, without regard to effectiveness? How much money are we spending on ineffective measures - like shoe inspections at airports, the prohibition on water over 3 oz., and the 13 oz. rule for stamped parcels in the mail. Richard Reid and Ted Kaczynski are in jail, and I think most of us would agree that they are fringe lunatics, anyway. Yes, there are oddballs, but the worse crime is that we give up liberties for a false sense of security. Note that anyone can wreak havoc in an airport security line. Fortunately TSA has the SPOT program which is on the lookout for nervous folk. But most of the rest of it is knee-jerk security. Not very helpful for security but very harmful for time and freedom.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Where do you live?

I used to think I lived in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. Now, I'm not so sure. The City of Washington, D.C. has taken action against ANSWER - fining them $10k for using an inappropriate adhesive on anti-war protest posters announcing the event planned for September 15, 2007. Selective enforcement?

And then there's the bit about search and seizure. Congress authorized the President to wiretap every man, woman, and child talking on the phone so long as the Attorney General "reasonably believes" that one end of the conversation is abroad. What happened to the FISA courts? What happened to the idea of having judicial oversight? Now, all of wiretapping is in the hands of the President. What if he doesn't like my political views? What if he doesn't like some reporter? What if someone can expose him for doing something he shouldn't have? Will he have blackmail material on hand? This lack of oversight cannot be a good thing.

Oh, and representation of the will of the people. Now they're going to build a MegaMall a mile from my house at an intersection ill-suited for the traffic and far from any suitable highways. The Town Council approved the zoning change in the face of scores of protesters, and after hundreds turned out for a Planning and Zoning meeting to protest. How many people need to protest something to get it to not happen?